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Publius Pomponius Secundus was a distinguished statesman and poet in the reigns of Tiberius, Caligula, and Claudius. He was suffect consul for the nundinium of January-June 44, succeeding the ordinary consul Gaius Sallustius Crispus Passienus and as the colleague of the other ordinary consul, Titus Statilius Taurus.[1] Publius was on intimate terms with the elder Pliny, who wrote a biography of him, now lost.

His full name was Publius Calvisius Sabinus Pomponius Secundus, as indicated by two fragmentary inscriptions from Germania Superior, although the praenomen is not certain.[2] Olli Salomies discusses the possibility that it might have been Gaius, but notes that a Publius Calvisius Sabinus was attested as existing in Spoletium, and concludes that it is "possible to assume with some confidence" that he had been adopted by a Publius Calvisius Sabinus.[3]



Pomponius' mother was Vistilia, who by other marriages was the mother of Publius Suillius Rufus and the general Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo. The name of his father is not known, but Ronald Syme has suggested he could be either Gaius Pomponius Graecinus, consul suffectus in AD 16, or his brother, Lucius Pomponius Flaccus, consul ordinarius in 17.[4] Pomponius' brother, Quintus Pomponius Secundus, was involved in various intrigues during the reigns of Tiberius and Claudius. Quintus tried to protect his brother from Tiberius' displeasure.[5]

Political careerEdit

Pomponius was one of the friends of Sejanus, who was consul in 31, and on the latter's fall in October of that year, Pomponius was placed under house arrest, where he remained until Caligula released him.[6][7] During either the reign of Caligula or Claudius he was governor of the public province of Creta et Cyrenaica.[8] It was during the reign of Claudius when Pomponius acceded to the consulship. He was afterwards governor of Germania Superior from the year 50 to 54; during his office Pomponius conducted a successful campaign, described by Tacitus, against the German Chatti, where, after forty years, survivors of the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest were freed from slavery. For this he received ornamenta triumphalia.[9]


It was by his tragedies that Secundus obtained the most celebrity. They are spoken of in the highest terms by Tacitus, Quintilian, and the younger Pliny, and were read even in a much later age, as one of them is quoted by the grammarian Charisius. These tragedies were first put on the stage in the time of Claudius. Quintilian asserts that he was far superior to any writer of tragedies he had known, and Tacitus expresses a high opinion of his literary abilities.[10][11][12][13]

Secundus devoted much attention to the niceties of grammar and style, on which he was recognized as an authority. His subject matter was Greek, with one known exception, a praetexta called Aeneas. Tragedians in the Julio-Claudian and Flavian periods typically were men of relatively high social status, and their works often expressed their political views under an insufficient veil of fiction. Only a few lines of his work remain, some of which belong to Aeneas.[14]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Gallivan, "The Fasti for the Reign of Claudius", Classical Quarterly, 28 (1978), pp. 408, 424
  2. ^ CIL XIII, 5201, CIL XIII, 11515
  3. ^ Salomies, Adoptive and polyonymous nomenclature in the Roman Empire, (Helsinski: Societas Scientiarum Fenica, 1992), p. 114
  4. ^ Syme, "Domitius Corbulo", Journal of Roman Studies, 60 (1970), p. 31
  5. ^ Tacitus, Annales, vi. 18, xiii. 43; translated by A.J. Woodman, Tacitus: The Annals (Hackett, 2004), p. 164 online
  6. ^ Cassius Dio, Roman History, lix. 6, 29.
  7. ^ Tacitus, Annales, v.8, vi.18.
  8. ^ Werner Eck, "Über die prätorischen Prokonsulate in der Kaiserzeit. Eine quellenkritische Überlegung", Zephyr 23/24 (1972/73), pp. 246f
  9. ^ Tacitus, Annales, xii.27, 28
  10. ^ Tacitus, Annales, xi. 13; Dialogus de Oratoribus, 13.
  11. ^ Quintilian, Institutio Oratoria, x. 1. § 98.
  12. ^ Pliny the Younger, Epistulae, iii. 5, vii. 17.
  13. ^ Charisius, ap. Bothe, Poet. Scen. Lat. Fragm. vol. ii. p. 279.
  14. ^ Gian Biagio Conte, Latin Literature: A History pp. 417–418 online; Vasily Rudich, Political Dissidence under Nero (Routledge, 1993), p. 304.


  • Otto Ribbeck, Geschichte der römischen Dichtung, iii. (1892). and Tragicorum Romanorum fragmenta (1897)
  • Tacitus, Annals, v. 8, x. 13, xi. 28
  • Quintilian, Inst. Orat. x. I. 98
  • Pliny, Nat. Hist. xiv. 5
  • Martin Schanz, Geschichte der römischen Literatur, ii. 2 (1900)
  • Wilhelm Siegmund Teuffel, History of Roman Literature (Eng. trans., 1900), 284, 7.

  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Secundus, Publius Pomponius" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 24 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 573–574.  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainSmith, William, ed. (1870). "article name needed. Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.

Political offices
Preceded by
Gaius Sallustius Crispus Passienus II,
and Titus Statilius Taurus

as Ordinary consuls
Suffect consul of the Roman Empire
with Titus Statilius Taurus
Succeeded by
ignoti, then
Marcus Vinicius II,
and Titus Statilius Taurus Corvinus

as Ordinary consuls